La Liga Betting Picks: Best Bets for Sunday, July 19, Including Atletico Madrid vs. Real Sociedad
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images. Pictured: Alvaro Morata of Atletico de Madrid.
Even though Real Madrid have already been crowned champions, there is still a ton to play for in heading into the final day of La Liga action. It’s Matchday 38, with seven of 10 matches kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.
There are a lot of scenarios to watch on Sunday, so here’s what’s on the line:
- Atletico needs at least a draw to secure third place in the table and avoid having to qualify for the Champions League.
- Sevilla needs a win and Atletico Madrid loss to avoid having to qualify for the Champions League, as Atletico holds the tiebreaker over them.
- Villarreal can secure a Europa League spot with a win and or a Getafe/Real Sociedad draw or loss.
- Getafe, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Granada, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna are all still alive for the final Europa League spot.
- If Real Soceiedad finishes in sixth place and beats Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey Final, the seventh-place team in the table will earn a Europa League qualification spot.
- Leganes are in the relegation zone, one point behind Celta Vigo. Since Celta Vigo holds the tie breaker over them, they need to beat Real Madrid and have Celta Vigo lose or draw against Espanyol to survive relegation.
Let’s take a look at six of tomorrow’s 10 matches:
Sevilla vs. Valencia
3 p.m. ET, beIN Sport Connect
Sevilla is pretty much stuck in the fourth place spot unless they win and Atletico Madrid loses to Real Sociedad. As for Valencia, if they are going to qualify for the Europa League, they need a win and a lot of help.
Sevilla has been one of the better sides during the second half of the La Liga season. Los Nervionenses are unbeaten in their past 14 matches and have outscored their opponents on average by 0.48 xG per match (1.61 xGF, 1.13 xGA).
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium has been been a fortress for Sevilla defensively, where they are allowing only 0.89 xG per match this season. They’ve also been dominant against teams below them in the table at home, going 9-5-1 and outscoring their opponents 24-to-12 in those matches. Sevilla also rested their star attackers for the first half against Sociedad on Thursday, so I expect them to put out their best lineup on Sunday.
Valencia has been abysmal on the road this year, earning just 13 points in 18 matches. In terms of expected goals, Valencia has lost on average by 0.95 xG per game (0.95 xGF, 1.90 xGA), which ranks in the bottom five of La Liga.
As of late, they’ve been extremely poor on the road, picking up just two points in their past nine matches. They’ve been terrible on both ends of the pitch in those matches, losing the expected goals battle 17.72 to 4.96.
With Sevilla needing a win to try and avoid Champions League qualification, I think they will be going all out trying to win this match. In my opinion, the current line provides a lot of value for the home side. Therefore, I am going to back Sevilla to grab all three points in this match:
- Sevilla projected odds: -198 (66.45% win probability)
- Valencia projected odds: +735 (11.98%)
- Draw projected odds: +363 (21.58%)
- Sevilla projected xG: 1.89
- Valencia projected xG: 0.77
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Sociedad
3 p.m. ET, beIN Sports Connect
Atletico can sit back and play for the draw in this match, but three points would guarantee them third place in the table and spot in the Champions League next year. Therefore, I think they will be giving this match their full attention and will be going for the win.
Real Sociedad has two shots at qualifying for the Europa League, if they win Sunday or in the Copa Del Ray final, they are in. If they lose or draw they will need some of the teams below to stumble on the final day.
Atletico has turned around their season since the restart. They entered the break in sixth place, but have since vaulted themselves up into third place by going unbeaten in their past 10 matches. In those 10 matches, Atletico has been their usual dominant selves defensively allowing only 1.01 xG per match. In fact, they’ve allowed just three goals since the restart against teams not named Barcelona.
Atletico has also been good offensively since the restart, averaging 1.53 xG per match, which ranks third behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. I think they will assert their dominance over Real Sociedad in this match and grab all three points.
Real Sociedad has been poor since the restart. Going into the break, they were on the cusp of a Champions League berth, but now find themselves fighting for the final Europa league spot in the table.
Since the restart, Sociedad has earned only nine points from their last 10 matches and have struggled to find the back of the net averaging only 1.16 xG per match. If Real is going to miss out on European football this season, it will be due to their performances on the road.
Sociedad has a -6.14 xG differential on the road, which ranks in the bottom half of La Liga. If Atletico gives this match their full attention, I don’t see how Real Sociedad is going to get a result.
There is a chance Atletico will sit back and play for the draw, but I think there is value in backing them to grab all three points:
- Atletico Madrid projected odds: -138 (57.93% win probability)
- Real Sociedad projected odds: +545 (15.50%)
- Draw projected odds: +276 (26.57%)
- Atletico Madrid projected xG: 1.47
- Real Sociedad projected xG: 0.76
Espanyol vs. Celta Vigo
3 p.m. ET, beIN Sports Connect
Celta Vigo needs a win to secure their place in the top flight of Spanish football next season. They are fortunate to draw Espanyol in the final week of the season, as the home has already been relegated to the Segunda Division. Celta Vigo will no doubt be monitoring the Leganes/Real Madrid match throughout the match.
Espanyol has been the worst team in La Liga this season and the worst team since the restart, losing their past eight matches. It’s hard to find good things to say about Espanyol, as the underlying metrics are not pretty. Espanyol ranks in the bottom five of La Liga in expected goals for and against.
If there is one positive, it’s they are a tad underrated at home. Based on Understat’s expected points metric, the Periquitos should have 8.39 more points at home this season than they currently have.
Espanyol will want to make their last match in La Liga a memorable one for the fans, even if they can’t be in the stadium.
Celta Vigo’s performance on the road this season is why they are in the relegation battle. The Célticos have earned only 13 points from their 18 away matches, including only two wins. The underlying metrics are not pretty either, as they’ve only managed to generate 0.90 xG per match, while allowing 1.46 xG per match.
The Célticos have also been in a bad run of form recently going winless in their last six matches. In those six matches, they’ve haven’t been very competitive, losing the expected goals battle 6.59 to 9.07. Going up against Espanyol, should provide the Célticos with an easy victory, but their road form and recent form are cause for concern.
Even though Celta Vigo is the only team with something to play for, I think they are severely overpriced in this match, so I am going to back the home side to get at least a draw:
- Espanyol projected odds: +170 (36.99% win probability)
- Celta Vigo projected odds: +201 (33.23%)
- Draw projected odds: +236 (29.78%)
- Espanyol projected xG: 1.09
- Celta Vigo projected xG: 1.03
Levante vs. Getafe
3 p.m. ET, beIN Sport Connect
Getafe essentially needs all three points from this match and a little help to secure Europa League football next season. There are a couple scenarios where they could earn European football with a draw, but they would need a lot of help. Levante has absolutely nothing to play for in this match other than pride.
Even though they had nothing to play for in their last match against Celta Vigo, Levante came out firing, scoring to two goals in the first 30 minutes of the match, on their way to a 3-2 victory.
Levante has been in OK form since the break earning 13 of a possible 30 points. The underlying metrics show they’ve been a little better than their results have shown, winning the expected goals battle 12.17 to 11.66 in their last 10 matches.
Even though they have nothing to play for, their last match against Celta Vigo, Levante showed they are not a team that can be taken lightly.
The restart has not been kind to Getafe, who was on the cusp of a Champions League berth before the world came to halt. Since then they have gathered only eight points from their past 10 matches and need some help if they are going to qualify for the Europa League.
The underlying metrics since the restart are not pretty for Getafe. In their past 10 matches, Getafe has struggled to find the back of the net, averaging only 0.86 xG per match, which is significantly lower than their 1.29 xG per match average before the break.
Getafe has also been struggling on the road recently, going winless in their last five matches and scoring only two goals in the process. Even though they are the only ones with something to play for in this match, it’s not a guarantee they’ll walk out of the Ciutat de València Stadium with three points.
In my opinion, I think Getafe is severely overpriced in this match. So, I think there is value on backing Levante to get at least a draw from this match.
- Levante projected odds: +203 (32.99% win probability)
- Getafe projected odds: +139 (41.90%)
- Draw projected odds: +298 (29.78%)
- Levante projected xG: 1.31
- Getafe projected xG: 1.50
Granada vs. Athletic Bilbao
3 p.m. ET, beIN Sports Connect
Granada’s comeback victory against Mallorca on Thursday has given them a chance to qualify for European football. To do so, they will need to win and a lot of help from the teams directly above them in the table. Athletic Bilbao’s best shot at the Europa League will be in the Copa Del Rey final. Too much needs to go right for Los Leones for me to see them qualify via La Liga.
Granada has been fairly average since the restart going 4-3-3 in their last 10 matches, with a +1.30 xG differential. Over that stretch the results haven’t been there for them at home, earning four of a possible 15 points in their past five matches.
However, expected goals tells us a different story. In their last five matches at home, Granada has been dominant, winning on average by +0.70 xG per match (1.63 xG, 0.93 xGA). So, they are due for some positive regression to end the season.
Los Leones were really bad against relegation side Leganes on Thursday. Bilbao’s first choice goalkeeper Unai Simon was sent off in the 22nd minute and will miss Sunday’s match against Granada. It will be interesting to see where Bilbao’s motivation for this match, since they will be playing for a Europa League spot in the Copa Del Rey final against Real Sociedad.
Athletic Bilbao has been in decent form since the restart, earning 14 points in their last 10 matches. However, the underlying metrics show their defense has been quite fortunate. Bilbao has conceded 11 goals since the restart, but expected goals show us they should have conceded 17.
In addition, Los Leones have been terrible on the road this season, scoring only 0.86 xG per match, while allowing 1.55 xG per match. With a second choice goalkeeper between the posts and some negative regression coming, I don’t see Los Leones leaving Granada with a result.
Based on my model, I think there is a little bit of value on Granada to finish the season with three points.
- Granda projected odds: -111 (52.64% win probability)
- Athletic Bilbao projected odds: +403 (19.86%)
- Draw projected odds: +264 (27.50%)
- Granada projected xG: 1.39
- Athletic Bilbao projected xG: 0.84